Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: Everlasting

Title: Everlasting
Author: Angie Frazier
Pages: 329

“Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: Marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous –and alluring- magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who –and what- matters most.”

~description taken from book jacket

Everlasting is an example of one of those books that are perfectly nice and enjoyable, but overall lack that intangible “it factor” that makes it memorable.

Camille, the heroine, is fun to read about, but just doesn’t stand out from the hoards of other YA protagonists. It’s not that she’s annoying or I had any problems with her- she was just generic, making it nearly impossible to empathize with her. The same can be said for Oscar, the man she loves. He’s perfectly nice and attractive, but forgettable. I only finished Everlasting last night, but I’m already having difficulty trying to scrounge up details about his personality. Because I can’t bring myself to care about either of the two, the romantic aspect of the book (which is quite large) falls flat.

Another problem I have regarding characters is Ira- the ‘funny sidekick’ as China Mieville would put it. He is by far my favorite in the novel, but is eerily similar to Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. I don’t want to throw around the word plagiarism lightly, but there are enough similarities between the two to be concerned about. They’re both criminals, have an affinity for wenches, mention alcohol –specifically rum- multiple times, use the exact same wording and phrases, and overall possess the same general attitude. The only real difference is that Ira isn’t as developed as thoroughly.

Similar to how the romance feels lackluster, the plot is equally unenthralling for the same reason: I couldn’t care about the characters and therefore couldn’t be concerned about what happened to them. This is a bit sad since the events of the novel are actually put together quite well- everything works and remains within the suspense of disbelief. It’s for this reason that I’m annoyed at the unsubtle hints of a sequel near the ending. I think it would be more beneficial for Miss. Frazier to drop the characters, take it as a loss and move onto a different storyline.

Ultimately, there’s not much that’s technically wrong with Everlasting, but there’s not much right about it either. It is a fun, light read and I did finish it to the end. However, I cannot actively recommend it since there are so many other, better books out there. One example is Juliet Marillier’s Cybele’s Secret. It also features a seafaring romance and a search for a magical artifact, but features that ever illusive “it factor”. I’d recommend picking that up instead of Everlasting.

Grade: 3/5

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